the fine print or ‘the pea’

06/16/2009

“True law is right reason in agreement with nature;

it summons to duty by its commands,

and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions.”

-Cicero-

i am puzzled.

i am going through my stack of mail from the past week (someone please fire my admin) and came across something from Fidelity, a company that serves as a glorified mattress of sorts for some savings of mine.

the notice is a voting proxy for shareholders on two items:

1)  board members.  joe schmoes.  i don’t know them.  maybe i should care, but i don’t.

2)  this matter:  “Shareholder proposal for Fidelity Freedom 2010 Fund [and a list of 10 other funds] concerning procedures to prevent holding investments in companies that, in the judgment of the Board, substantially contribute to genocide or crimes against humanity.

and the kicker?  the Board of Trustees recommends a vote AGAINST #2.

i don’t know about you, but this smells like blood diamonds to me…

i didn’t really know what to do here.  so i just read more specifically on the issue.  here’s the skinny:

  1. The shareholder proposal:  “Ordinary individuals, through their investments in Fidelity, may inadvertently invest in companies funding genocide because of investment decisions made on their behalf by Fidelity. With no policy to prevent these problem investments, Fidelity may at any time increase its holdings or involve new funds in such problem investments.We believe that this problem is not merely theoretical, since Fidelity was one of the largest holders of PetroChina, which, through its closely related parent, China National Petroleum Company, is providing funding that the Government of Sudan uses to conduct genocide in Darfur.We believe that in the face of the most extreme human rights crises investors share responsibility to act, individually and collectively, in addition to the role and responsibility of governments….We see no compelling reason to invest in companies that fund genocide.We believe there are ample competitive alternatives and flexibility of investment choices, even with index funds. As noted by Gary Brinson’s classic study, investment returns are affected much more by asset allocation than by individual security selections, so avoiding a small number of problem companies need not result in any significant effect on performance.
  2. The Board’s response:  “The Fidelity Funds Board of Trustees recommends that you vote AGAINST this proposal….The Fidelity Funds Board of Trustees recognizes and respects that investors, including those investing in this Fund, have other investment opportunities open to them should they wish to avoid investments in certain companies or countries.   Shareholders of the Fund, however, have chosen to invest in this Fund based on its specific stated investment policies. If adopted, this proposal would limit investments by the Fund that would be lawful under the laws of the United States. For this reason, the Board of Trustees recommends that you vote AGAINST this proposal.”

i just cast my vote FOR the proposal.

i might just be moving my cash soon.

i am no princess, but this is one pea under my mattress I would certainly lose sleep over.

true, we can’t always know or prevent how our decisions are linked and supplement the evil in this world.  when we do know though and are given a choice, we should exercise our right to chose justice and mercy for our fellow humans.  and we sleep well at night knowing our only hope for being blameless at the end of our days is the perfect obedience Christ secures for us.

“And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times,

and there will one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all,for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge.

Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly called punishment . . .”

-Cicero-


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2 Responses to “the fine print or ‘the pea’”

  1. Jessica said

    Thank you for your post! I just received my proxy vote notice in the mail and immediately googled what the board is so against — it brought me to your page…and i COMPLETELY agree with you. I’m so frustrated with corporate america right now…
    Thanks for giving your two cents and taking a stand for what I believe pleases God — mercy and justice for all…

  2. jessica said

    thanks for sharing – i’m so glad you took the time to research! it gives me hope others will too. i used to work in corporate finance world and there are financial institutions who go the extra step to avoid even inadvertently supporting things like genocide. it just takes time and effort to find them. worthwhile though!

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